Nothing But the Truth (2008) – You can take the girl out of the journalism, but you can’t take the journalism out of the girl, haha. Though I’m no longer pursuing a career in the newspaper business, I still love watching movies about reporters, so I was excited when my mom passed a DVD of this flick on to me after watching it. The film is about a D.C. reporter who refuses to reveal her source after breaking a huge story about the CIA. The acting is a bit shaky at times, the characters are pretty flat, and there’s a useless subplot or two (the cheating husband, namely). But the story is consistently compelling and really leaves the viewer guessing regarding both the identity of the source and the outcome of Rachel’s case.
Paper Towns (2015) – I wasn’t a huge fan of John Green’s book Paper Towns, upon which this film is based, when I read it last year. The film manages to stick fairly close to the source material (to the best of my memory) while also being more enjoyable than the book. The mystery/adventure/road trip side of the story is the most successful element — things get more interesting after Margo steps temporarily off-screen. Q (Nat Wolff), Ben (Austin Abrams), and Radar (Justice Smith) have nice chemistry and are easily believable as long-time best friends.
Punchline (1988) – This is a showbiz dramedy, but not the type you’d expect. Rather than focusing on the Broadway stage or the silver screen, Punchline explores the world of stand-up comedy in the big, bad city of New York, New York. The central characters are Steven Gold (Tom Hanks), a med school drop out who does stand-up, and Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field), a housewife who is new to the stand-up world and desperate to be seen as funny. Unfortunately, very little of the stand-up featured in the film evokes laughs, so even though the film is about comedians, there isn’t a lot of comedy to be enjoyed. As a result, the film kind of drags. (I wouldn’t have a problem with it if the drama was at all engrossing, or if the stand-up didn’t get so much screen time.) I had moderately high hopes for this one since I’m a fan of both of its star, but it just didn’t deliver for me.
The Shipping News (2001) – Lasse Hallström helms this adaptation of Annie Proulx’s novel. The story is of a man who moves to his ancestral home of Newfoundland with his pre-teen daughter, after his wife runs off with her lover and is killed in a car accident. The film has a big-name cast including Judi Dench, Kevin Spacey, Cate Blanchett, and Julianne Moore. The performances are good (aside from a few shaky accents), and the film offers an interesting exploration of both the town itself and Spacey’s character’s attempt to adjust to it amidst his grief. It’s a very somber film. The pace is too slow for me to consider adding the film to my re-watch rotation, but it was worth watching once.
Southpaw (2015) – I didn’t have a huge interest in this film because, as I’ve expressed on this blog in previous posts, I’m not a huge fan of boxing movies. Boxing isn’t a sport that I enjoy watching, so I’ve got a little bit of a bias against movies about it. Southpaw is plenty violent (I had to cover my eyes a few times, haha), but it’s also surprisingly emotionally-effective. Nicely-executed performances.